Gilraen - The Story Continues - Chapter 5 - A Resolution
The rider with the supplies arrived in the dead of night, and left with orders for the elves of Eryn Lasgalen, that the borders should be kept closed to all outsiders unless Aeteran and Gilraen wished them to. Gilraen at first felt a little indignant when it was first proposed to her by Aeteran, and felt imposed upon, but after thinking on it for awhile, she concluded that it would be the best and safest choice.
As soon as Aeteran could no longer see the rider, he picked up their few bags, and was helping Gilraen put one on when Lenthenar ran back into the camp. He immediately took a bag from Aeteran and put it across his head and right shoulder. In a few minutes they all left, running south-westward.
It was a long, hard night for Gilraen, she had never ran this fast before, and for the first few hours it was hard to keep up with her companions, but then, slowly, she took to the speed, and she was running along with them. They went quickly, and before dawn they had reached Lothlorien's borders. A party of elves met them as they ran into the trees. These elves were dressed in plain colors of Green and Brown, but there was a richness in the material itself that made the clothes elaborate. Aeteran bowed, as did Lenthenar, Falisur, and Isurindal, and after a moments hesitation, Gilraen did likewise. Aeteran stepped forward to stop her but she looked into his eyes, and he could see in her eyes that she did not mean to be revealed at the present time for who she was. "What is this? Do elves now run with mortals?" Asked one of the elves of Lothlorien. "Nay! They do but pull her along!" Laughed another. Gilraen fumed at these words, but she knew that she must not get angry. She must act kindly and courteously toward them, for that was the only thing that would get them to cease their teasing. "Good sirs, I run the best that I can." The Lothlorien elves just laughed, but her companions smiled. Aeteran, now knowing that it would be doubtful that Gilraen would say something that would insult the elves of Lothlorien, began to speak to the elves. "Where is Iluquinga?" He asked. It was obvious to Gilraen that Aeteran knew these elves well. "It has been long since we have spoken." Replied an elf, who stepped out in front of his companions. "Iluquinga left shortly after we spoke last, and we have not heard from her yet." "Who," Gilraen asked the elf, "may I ask, are you?" The elf smiled. "I am Aegnor, lord of all who remain in Lothlorien." The elf replied. "Well met Aegnor." Gilraen said, smiling. "May I ask, who is this Iluquinga that you speak of?" "Iluquinga was a close kin to Celeborn, and she was the most beautiful, and beloved elf left on Middle Earth. She left Lothlorien one day, 28 years ago, and would not tell any of us where she was going. She has never been seen since." Aegnor replied, in a sad, regretful tone. "Iluquinga means rainbow in the common tongue, does it not?" Gilraen asked, with a thoughtful look on her face. "Yes, it does." Falisur quickly said. "That is strange. For my mother has always been called the rainbow queen of Gondor and Arnor, and once I thought I heard my father call her Iluquinga." Gilraen said, a little hesitantly. "Many a human has been named in Elvish." Aegnor said, laughing. "But my mother is an elf. That's why they call me and the rest of the royal children half-elven. My mother used to sing to us every night about Lothlorien, and Doriath, and the fair beauty of Lady Galadriel." Gilraen replied softly, but firmly. Aegnor and the other elves, including her own companions looked shocked, and stared at her in wonder. It was obvious to Gilraen that they now believed her. "Doriath." Aegnor said in wonder. "Princess, may I know thy name?" He asked. "My name is Gilraen." Gilraen replied. "Gilraen?" Aegnor said with a frown. "What is wrong?" Gilraen asked, surprised at Aegnor's reaction. "One day from Minas Tirith comes, a gentle maiden from the sea. With her brings the hope of all, thus rules the elven queen." Aegnor said, looking as if he was in a daze. "What?" Gilraen said, beginning to get a little impatient. Another elf stepped forward and replied for Aegnor, who did not seem to hear a word that was being spoken.
"Madame," the elf said, bowing, "Lord Aegnor has been expecting you for many a year now. Before she left us, Lady Galadriel foretold of your coming. This is what my Lord Aenor has spoken just now spoken of." "What pray, is your name?" Gilraen asked the elf.
"Lomien, your majesty." The elf, Lomien, replied. All of a sudden Aegnor's clouded face cleared, and he smiled. Then he knelt down on bended knee. "Your majesty," he said, smiling. Lomien was the next to bend the knee, and the rest of the elves present, including here companions from Eryn Lasgalen, followed suit. "You are always welcome in Lothlorien." Aegnor said, respectfully, but kindly. "I am glad. Lothlorien is indeed a beautiful place." Gilraen replied, smiling, and looking about her. "Please rise." She finished, after realizing that all the elves were still kneeling. They all rose in unison, and Lomien approached her. "Majesty.." He began, but Gilraen stopped him. "Please, call me Gilraen. Even though I have lived solely among elves for over a year now, I am still not accustomed to such formalities, and wish to dispense with them for as long as possible." She said, smiling kindly at Lomien. "As you wish Gilraen." Lomien replied hesitantly. "What did you wish to tell me?" Gilraen asked, observing that Lomien was a little hesitant now that he had been put off his guard with Gilraen's request. "Ah!" Lomien said, relaxing. "May I accompany you? For wherever you go, I would like to be the companion of the Queen of the elves. Many thousands of years have I lived, but never have I longed to leave Lothlorien so much, as in your company. It has been long since I have seen Middle Earth, and wish to roam its hills and valleys once again." Lomien replied, with much earnestness and longing. "Agreed! I would be happy to have one more so noble a companion." Gilraen replied, laughing. "I to have longed all of my life to see Middle Earth, before it's former beauty is marred forever by evil." She said, with longing in her voice, as well as dread. Immediately all activity by the elves ceased, and all eyes were turned on her. "What?" Gilraen asked, puzzled. "You know of such a time?" Aetenor said cautiously. Gilraen started to nod, and then thought better of it. "I know that the shadow over my heart grows, day by day. The cloud grows dark, evil draws near, and we must act quickly to counter this new evil." Gilraen said calmly, and seriously. "Sauron." Someone whispered from within the crowd of elves. "Nay, Sauron was overthrown, defeated, and shall never return. No, it is another servant of Morgoth, equal in strength and power to that of Sauron's, and he is coming to try and take Middle Earth. We need to find out more about our enemy. War is upon us. I, Lomien, Falisur, Aeteran, Lenthenar, and Isurindal shall go and scout out Middle Earth. I need one elf to go to the King of the Eagles, and one to go and find Radagast the Brown. That way we shall find this evil quickly, and meet it prepared for battle." Gilraen said, standing bravely, and it seemed to the elves that she grew in stature and in Majesty, and they thought they saw Arwen or Luthien or Melian Maia before them once more. Then, one by one, they kneeled before her, and lowered their heads in respectful reverence. "You, Aegnor shall stay here with the rest of these noble elves and make weapons, weapons that would not shame those Noldor warriors of old when they came to middle earth. I know that you can. Is there anyone here who would serve me also?" Gilraen said commandingly. All of the elves stood up, but one elf, who by all appearances looked like a male elf, but something told Gilraen that this was a female elf, though it certainly didn't look like it at first glance. "I, milady," began the elf, whose voice sounded sweeter than honey, but as crisp as bells. "I, am called Alassemiire. I will serve you. I desire to go out alone in search of this evil, to aid you." The elf, Alassemiire said. "This is folly. You would not survive a day. You don't look as if your more than 200 years old. Tell me, how many battles have you been in, young one?" Aeteran said, mockingly. "Peace Aeteran." Gilraen said quietly, but firmly. "I, am an Eldar, and few have I seen that have dared to take liberties with me. I am a Vanyar, the beloved of Manwe, if you'd like to know. I have been in great battles that I'm sure you, Aeteran, have never even seen. I fought against Morgoth until the very end. Fled with Cirdan to a safe place, returned to Valinor, came back to Middle Earth with my people under the great flags of the Vala against Morgoth, I fought in the last alliance of men and elves, I fought in the war of the five nations, the battle of Helm's deep, the battle of Pelenor fields, in front of Mordor also. I am the legendary mistress of the sword and bow and spear. You may not challenge my right to go out alone." Alassemiire replied coldly to Aeteran, whose mouth had fallen open. Gilraen made a small bow, and smiled. "I am honored to be in the presence of one of the Eldar, especially one of the race of the Vanyar." Gilraen said, eyes shining with awe. "Thank you. I heard much of Middle Earth from the Noldor before they rebelled, and by their talk, I became interested once more in Middle Earth. But only after the falling of the two trees of Valinor did I really think seriously about it. Then, after the Sun and Moon were established did I leave Valinor and come here to Middle Earth. After this is over, I probably will depart from Middle Earth for the last time. But not until your majesty has been secured on your thrown, and this evil overthrown. I have faced worse evils than the one that is coming however, I assure you." Alassemiire replied smiling, and yet, while it was a kind smile, there was something majestic in it as well. "Will you go and warn my father, and Rohan?" Gilraen asked anxiously. "I would. But Gilraen I would advise against it. Your father is wise, but he thinks that although the time of the elves is over, that our power wains. He would not take the news very well coming from the mouth of an elf." Alassemiire said seriously, and concernedly. "And yet," Alassemiire continued, as if pondering the road which lay before them all. "I do not think he would take the news very well from you. There is a fear in your heart of your father, though I cannot tell why. Something has happened which has affected you and you have drawn away from him. Did he not recognize your reign?" She said wisely, looking steadily into Gilraen's eyes. "Ah, that's it. Even if you did declare yourself, he would not have recognized your reign, and there would have been anger and doubt roused in his heart at your actions." Alassemiire continued after a moments pause. "Very well. I will go. It is the very best I can do. But you must come with me, and declare yourself in private to your father. No one else." Alassemiire finished, all the time looking straight into Gilraen's eyes. The elves gasped. Aeteran was about to protest, but Gilraen raised her hand to stop him. She looked down at the ground for awhile, and then raised it, and looked straight back into Alassemiire's eyes. "This I will do, though I do not want to do it." Gilraen said softly but seriously. On hearing this Aeteran burst forward. "If you do not want to do this thing, than do not, milady! Ever did evil come from the south!" He cried. "Aye, and what about the evil from the north. We do not know where it comes from but we must fight it." Gilraen replied sharply. "Alassemiire's right. The other country's will respect the warning from the queen of the elves, but my father would doubt it. I must reveal myself." She finished, calming down. At this, Aeteran stepped back to where he was, not saying a word, and silence reigned for several minutes. "When I leave I want messengers sent out to all elven fortresses of the coming storm. My commands are that none enter Lothlorien unless I will that they be permitted to do so. I want a party of elves to go to Rivendell and secure it. The borders must be closely watched and guarded. All the while, I need your most skilled craftsmen preparing weapons for war. I know that many of you still remember your feats of old in forging swords, shields and the like. There is not enough of that old armor left, and you are needed once more to outfit our small but brave army of elves." Gilraen said bravely, and kindly. "But madame, where will we get the wood? Never will the elves of Lothlorien cut down its trees." Aegnor said concernedly, stepping forward. "Nay, use the dead, fallen wood to light your fires. If there is not enough, send to Eryn Lasgalen, and upon my order, they will supply you with old, dead wood for your fires." Gilraen replied firmly, though smiling kindly. "We will depart within a day." She finished calmly. At that Aegnor turned round to his elves and cried, "Come, let us prepare the arrival of our queen at Caras Galadhon!" He said, and started to run through the elves, toward the center of Lothlorien, and the city of Galadhrim. The elves in turn fell in behind Aegnor, and soon they were lost to sight. "Come majesty, you will need to rest before your journey." Alassemiire said kindly, putting her hand on Gilraen's shoulder. "You go on ahead. I will go on to Cerin Amroth first, and meet you there. I need to be alone." Gilraen said quietly.
Alassemiire nodded, and ran after Aegnor. Aetenor, Lenthenar, Isurindal, Falisur and Lomien started, paused, turning back to look at her, and then after Gilraen motioned them to leave with her hand, they ran hard to try to catch up to the quick footed Alassemiire. Once they were out of sight and Gilraen was alone, she too started to run. For a long while she ran in the same direction the others had gone, but after awhile she turned away from their path. After running for what seemed like hours, she burst through the trees and found herself standing in Cerin Amroth.
As soon as she entered Cerin Amroth, Gilraen felt overwhelmed by the feeling of ancientness in the air. The sweet smell of the elanor and niphredil hung in the air, and Gilraen felt as though she wouldn't be surprised to see the Elven Lords and Ladies of old appear on the hill speaking with their fair voices. She felt as though she was now one of them, though one of the least. She walked up the hill of Amroth as if in a daze, and entered the circle of white trees. As if not conscious of what she was doing she climbed up to the great talan and looked out over Lothlorien. There her gaze was met by the glory of Caras Galadhon. She longed to go there, to be there. Gilraen felt as though she could just jump off and soar like a bird down to it, and remain there for the rest of her life. After staring at it for a long while, she tore her gaze from the city of Galadhrim and looked out over the rest of Lothlorien. There, to the north she could see the southernmost border of Eryn Lasgalen, and there to the south was the northernmost border of Fanghorn. Then she turned back and looked at Galadhrim once more. After staring at it for what must have been hours, she again tore her eyes from it and looked to the east. There she could see the river Anduin flowing down. Then all of a sudden Gilraen remembered her brothers and sisters, her father, her mother, the way she had seen Valandur lie on his bed looking pale, and her fathers anger and shock at her behavior. When would she see them again? Her father was proud, and when it was declared to him that his youngest daughter was the queen of the elves, surely he would banish her, or worse. Was Valandur alive? What did her sisters think of her rushing away, and never to return their kind little sister, but an elf queen, more mighty and powerful then they? When would she see her dear mother again? She would understand, but she also would try to convince Gilraen to stay there at Minas Tirith. All of these thoughts flooded Gilraen's mind the minute she saw the Anduin running its age long course, and she fell to the floor of the talan in grief. She remained there, sobbing, for several hours. That was how Falisur found her. He had been sent to find her, for Gilraen had been gone for many an hour, and they were beginning to worry for her.
"My queen, Gilraen, what is the matter?" He said surprised, after climbing up to the talan.
"The burden of it all." Gilraen replied sobbing. Falisur sat down next to her. "Ah, Gilraen, you do carry a heavy burden. This journey will change you forever, and the road laid out before you is not an easy one. You are so young, and yet set apart from your family, and set upon a dangerous road are you. Never to be known or understood by your family any longer, and suspected by many kings and princes of men already. It is not easy to be the last queen of the elves. I foresee that those who are not slain in battle shall depart to Middle Earth, and never again set foot upon it. No elf shall be left on Middle Earth, and all that will be left are Dwarves and Men. But no such harbor is offered to you as to the elves, for you are only half-elven, and are mortal yet. It is a sad and hard road, so grieve, but do not give up hope, Gilraen. For without you we will all fall. Men shall fall, for no warning shall be given to them, and the elves shall perish in their waining halls of beauty, defeated and slaughtered one by one, if you do not stand up, and take this burden upon your shoulders. You can be victorious, Gilraen, but not if you give up. Do you remember what Frodo the Nine fingered and his companion Sam said in the tales when they were approaching Mordor?" Falisur asked, laying his hand on her shoulder. Gilraen just kept on crying. "It is said that Sam said to Frodo when he was about to give up hope and stop, that all those people in the stories of old that really count are the ones that kept on going, sacrificing family and friends, and never giving up hope. There is more in this world than the will of evil, Gilraen, and you should know that by now. Luthien and Beren, and many men and elves had troubles, and hopeless situations like you Gilraen, but they didn't give up, and they kept on going. They won in the end, Gilraen, and you can, too." Falisur said earnestly. At that Gilraen sat up, and wiped away her tears. "I will not abandon the elves, or the men, and not even the dwarves, to servitude and slaughter. We will win, or we will die in the attempt." Gilraen said, grasping Falisur's hand strongly. Then they both climbed down the talan and took off running toward Caras Galadhrim.